Return to God what belongs to Him and He will return a blessing to you. It is not too late. Listen to what He says: “You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty. A blessed nation is a nation that acts on its faith in Almighty God. God doesn’t desire mere lip service; He wants the real deal. Even though we cannot fully see or comprehend Him now, there is nothing more real than God. How we obey His Word is a reflection of our values and it has always been that way.
This warning about robbing God reminds me of a story that did not end well for a king in New Testament times. Herod the Great’s grandson was the new leader on the throne and he caused much trouble for the early church. Although I do not know of his tithing practices, King Herod robbed God of the praise and glory due Him and was immediately eaten by worms and then he died. There may be a number of reasons that motivate us to give to God. I love giving back to Him because all good blessings come from Him.
Malachi 3:9-10, 12 NIV
Although the word “bless” is not found in the story of Esther, she herself was certainly blessed by God and by man. The beautiful chosen queen did not selfishly enjoy her elevated position but she humbly used it to bless others. In fact, she saved the lives of the Jews who were scattered across 127 provinces. Esther lived during a pivotal time in Israel’s history: the Temple had been rebuilt (the same Temple that Jesus would visit during His time on earth) yet many of God’s people living in Esther’s time had grown tired of doing good. It is hard to believe that again after all God had rescued them from that they dishonored God and ignored His covenant promises, and “going to church” became a meaningless and routine task.
God warned the unethical priests through the prophet Malachi: “And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” says the Lord of hosts,“I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings.” God’s warnings are not idle words. If rewards did not woo the leaders back, then strong correction would certainly come.
It is the same now as it was then: those in leadership positions hold a great responsibility. Peace is what God offers but evil is what many of His people seek. Wise people honor God and listen to His Words. If we need to make changes in our attitude toward God, His Story, and church, I pray we would do so. He is not like some college professors who give credit to students just for attending; God desires for us to actually know Him by spending time with Him. It is true that He expects us to learn and apply what He teaches so that our lives will be lived in better, blessed ways. When we are living blessed, may we, like Esther, live to bless others.
Malachi 2:1-2a NKJV